New York native Frankie Knuckles was the Dj from 1977 to 1982 at the Warehouse.
It is widely accepted that his style of DJing and his selection and the appeal of the Warehouse gave house music its name, although in the beginning, the word house was used only in Chicago to denote something which would become cool, hip, fresh or bad, depending on place and time.
Frankie Knuckles had been long time friends with Larry Levan, they had had their musical upbringing together from going to clubs like Loft and the Gallery Frankie Knuckles moved was born in the South Bronx of New York City on the 18th January 1955. He got into DJing after being offered a job by Tee Scott, who he sees as one of the legendary DJs, and was further prompted into it by Larry Levan when they used to work together back in 1972/73 at a New York club called The Gallery which was owned by Nicky Siano.
Frankie recalls the good old days: «The first club I ever went to was The Loft (David Mancuso’s now-legendary private party); the first time I went there I wasn’t sure what kind of crowd it was: at times it looked very straight, at others, very gay. At that point (in the mid Seventies), sexuality didn’t mean a thing
TIMEWARP: Chicago, 1978. The Windy City is not exactly a dance music mecca. Like the majority of American cities still are today, Chicago was a rock and blues town. Plenty of live music and beer swilling bars, but not much in the way of dancing or clubs. A young DJ, newly arrived from New York, opens a club named The Warehouse, and will unwittingly change the lives of thousands of people in the late 80’s and early ’90s. That DJ was Frankie Knuckles. Says Frankie: «When we first opened in ’78, I was playing a lot of the East Coast records, the Philly stuff, Salsoul. By ’80/81, when that stuff was all over with, I started working a lot of the soul that was coming out. I had to re-construct the records to work for my dancefloor, to keep the dancefloor happy, as there was no dance music coming out! I’d take the existing songs, change the tempo, layer different bits of percussion over them, to make them more conductive for the dancefloor.»
Electronic Mail & Guardian magazine, from a longer article on Frankie when he was touring South Africa:
«Born in New York’s Bronx more than four decades ago, Frankie Knuckles has done his time – and done it in some of clubland’s most mythical spaces, including New York’s Roxy and Sound Factory. He first took to the turntables in the late Seventies, mixing up disco and funky soul at gay venues like Better Days and the Continental Baths, before moving to Chicago in the late Seventies for a residency at the Warehouse, where modern dance music reached a crucial turning point.
The rumour that the term «house» music is derived from the name of this venue is probably not far from the truth, for it’s almost certain that this is where – under throbbing strobes and among sweaty bare-chested men and the faintest whiff of amyl-nitrate – the trend found its feet. «The term ‘House Music’ is derived from the club that the music stems from, ‘The WareHouse’, in Chicago. Between 1977 and 1983 it was presided over by DJ Frankie Knuckles [he moved there from New York City in 1977], where he played a mixture of underground Disco, Funk, Soul and classic Philly sounds to a loyal following of predominantly black, gay clubbers.
To enhance the music, and create new sounds, innovative ideas were employed such as playing a Roland 909 drum machine under old Philly records – thus emphasising the beats. He would also blend in rhythm tracks that he’d created on reel-to-reel tape recorders to link and boost the music»